An additional 900million barrels of oil could be extracted from the North Sea if companies can improve their operation, according to the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA).
The industry regulator has just published more than 400 new “recovery factor benchmarks” for oil and gas fields in the UK North Sea.
Specialist upstream oil and gas consultancy Belltree was appointed by the OGA to develop the benchmarks, while the Edinburgh firm’s proprietary software tool bMark has been adopted by the regulator to help maximise economic recovery in the UK (MER UK).
OGA’s new benchmarking report says: “The expected recovery factor in the UKCS (UK continental shelf) has not changed significantly over time, whilst the quality of fields being developed has decreased.
“The decrease in field quality has been offset by improved development, shown by the improvement to average field volume gap over time.
“The OGA has developed a recovery factor benchmark to assist with the KPI (key performance indicator) of improving recovery factor by 2020 and will use the benchmarking tool with industry to identify and quantify opportunities where increasing recovery factor leads to increased value, in line with MER UK.”
It adds: “Improvements to recovery factor have potential to add towards the goal of Vision 2035, which aims to increase revenues for UKCS operators and the wider supply chain, above the base line set in 2016.”
Scott Robertson, central North Sea area manager, OGA, said benchmark study findings showed improved stewardship could raise the recovery factor on “selected prioritised fields”, delivering an extra 900million barrels of oil.